Get change.org to tighten guidelines that allow petitions to spread lies without evidence
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In the community guidelines listed on the change.org website, users are reminded to "make sure you have evidence for claims you make". Users are also instructed to respect privacy with the reminder: 'Don’t post private information, like private email addresses, identification documents, credit card numbers, home addresses, private telephone numbers, or photographs of people in private settings posted without their consent.'
Yet in a change.org petition designed to encourage supporters to believes lies about an innocent man, these guidelines seem to have been immediately breached.
The very name of the petition includes the address of an innocent person - broadcast to the public via the change.org platform for more than a year.
And when it comes to having any solid evidence to support the claims made in the petition, the woman who founded the petition - Carol Levey - does not seem to have any.
The background to this defamatory petition is this:
For twelve years, members of the McIntyre family have had to put up with the promotion of unsubstantiated claims that their father, Max McIntyre, is involved in one of Australia's most iconic crimes - the disappearance of the Beaumont children.
These claims started when three members of their own family suddenly remembered a supposed lifetime of abuse, shortly after there had been a well-known family squabble over a will and other property-related issues.
The allegations, they said, were 'memories' that had not been 'unlocked' before.
South Australian police have dutifully investigated the complaints and allegations made against the innocent man named in this petition, and have dismissed them. Other members of both the immediate and extended McIntyre family categorically dismiss and denounce the claims as well.
Yet, despite that, change.org has provided a platform for these lies to be publicised, without any checks against their own community guidelines.
The petition listed has been reported numerous times to change.org but change.org has not acted - despite the obvious breaches to its own guidelines.
There is NO evidence to prove any of the claims that are behind this petition. Despite this, along with their claims about the Beaumont children, the people behind this petition have made numerous social media posts, blogs and even videos promoting a litany of unproven claims - each more outlandish than the last - including allegations that the person named in this petition is one of Australia's worst serial killers who is responsible for just about every famous case related to children disappearing and being murdered - including crimes for which people have already been charged and jailed (on DNA evidence).
It's time for change.org to be more accountable and not give a platform to stories that breach people's privacy and have no evidence to support them.
By allowing petitions that promote defamatory conspiracy theories and lies on the change.org platform, without any proper checks and adherence to their own guidelines, ignorant supporters can become revved up to demand more drastic action - mob mentality that is potentially dangerous and life-threatening.
If innocent people can be presented as guilty, with no evidence, what seems to be a loose attitude to the change.org guidelines is failing us all.
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